Turner Sports and the NCAA announced a 14-year digital rights deal Tuesday that includes management of NCAA.com, the primary web site for all 88 NCAA tournaments and other services.
“We’re doing this for a couple of reasons, and we would never do a stupid economic deal,” said Lenny Daniels, executive vice president and CEO of Turner Sports. “The long-term television world is going to change, and we think everything is, eventually, going to be interconnected.”
Financial terms were not immediately disclosed.
If Daniels is right, Turner Sports’ second major coup with the NCAA in five months may put the network in a stronger position to land future contracts.
In April, Turner and CBS announced they were teaming up as broadcast partners for the NCAA’s marquee event, the men’s basketball tournament, winning a bidding war with a 14-year, $10.8 billion deal that means each game will be broadcast live for the first time in the 73-year history of the event. The NCAA will get an additional $740 million per year, on average, from that deal — money it says will go back to individual schools and conferences.
But Turner Sports could be the big winner.
Beginning this season, Turner will carry games on three of its cable channels (TBS, TNT and truTV), will begin alternating title game broadcasts with CBS in 2016 and now holds digital rights to all NCAA championships across all three divisions.
According to the website coverbrowser.com (linked here), this particular cover is No. 77 on the list of the Top 100 Worst Album Covers of All Time.
How it relates to the Kings’ 2010-11 TV schedule? They have 77 games scheduled to air among Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket (70 there) and Versus, NBC and KDOC.
That means five didn’t make it (in L.A.): Nov. 6 at home vs. Nashville (FSW is locked in with a Clippers game at Utah and Prime Ticket is locked in with USC-Arizona State football game), Dec. 18 at Nashville, Dec. 29 at Phoenix, Feb. 2 at Edmonton and March 9 at Detroit.
(What’s the problem with Nashville? Aside from the fact hockey should never be played there).
(We also suspect Don Cherry got his jackets from the same store these twins have shopped, but that could be a stretch. A real stretch. A 54-long stretch.)
The coverage on FSW starts with all 10 games in October — staring with the opener on Saturday, Oct. 9 at Vancouver. For the second season in a row, all FSW/Prime games are in high definition.
An interesting twist: The Kings’ games at Anaheim on Nov. 29 and Feb. 23 will both air on FSW, the Kings’ home network. Meaning play-by-play man Bob Miller (starting his 38th season) and analyst Jim Fox (in his 21st season) will do their first Kings game from Anaheim, since the network has in the past allowed the Ducks’ Prime Ticket package to have sole coverage of previous head-to-head games with their Southern California rival. Miller and Fox may also do the March 13 game at Dallas if NBC passes on it as a regional telecast.
Heidi Androl returns as a reporter (third season) with Patrick O’Neal (sixth season). Steven Dorfman (second season) is the producer and Mike Hassan (15th season) is the director of the FSW telecasts.
All 82 Kings regular-season games are scheduled to air on KTLK-AM (1150), with Nick Nickson (starting his 30th season in the organization and 21st on radio) and Daryl Evans (12th season) on the call. All games have a 30-minute pre-game show and all home games (plus those in Anaheim) will have a “Kings Talk” post-game show.
The Kings Radio Network this season includes KVTA-AM (1520) in Ventura, KHTS-AM (1220) in Santa Clarita, KMET-AM (1490) in Banning, KLOA-AM (1240) in Ridgecrest, KOSS-AM (1380) in Palmdale and KPTR-AM (1450) in Palm Springs.
The Kings also start the exhibition season Wednesday at Colorado on 1150-AM, as well as Thursday at Phoenix, Sept. 28 vs. Anaheim, Oct. 2 vs. Colorado in Las Vegas and Oct. 3 at Anaheim.
Ron Shelton says there were two movies he wanted to make once he was done playing minor-league baseball in the early 1970s.
“Bull Durham” made it in 1988. The Kevin Costner-Tim Robbins-Susan Sarandon cast created a film that’s still listed in many Top 10 best sports flicks ever done.
Now, Shelton waits to see if he can get “Our Lady of the Ballpark,” about life in the Mexican Leagues, into the batter’s box office radar.
It has an Internet Movie Database listing (linked here), but Shelton says that’s about as far as it’s gone. It’s stuck as a movie “in development.”
“We’ve got a script, a budget and a cast, but it’s been hard to get off the ground because there’s no foreign sales for a baseball movie, and that’s what’s driving the movie business these days,” Shelton, who turned 65 last week, said Saturday during a panel discussion on the 40th anniversary of the Jim Bouton book, “Ball Four” at the Burbank Central Library.
That doesn’t seem right. Mexico isn’t considered a foreign market?
“Mexico is part of North America,” said Shelton. “What about the Latin American market? Not true. The Caribbean (movie) market is as big as San Bernardino. There’s not a lot of baseball in South America. Or Western Europe.
“Japan … we got $1 million out of Japan. South Korea and Taiwan .. that’s as big as Pico Rivera in a movie market.
“It’s all about the numbers. It’s a budget issue. I think we’re close. I hope we’re getting close.”
Shelton said the script he made with “Tin Cup” co-writer John Norville is about a fifth starter for the New York Yankees “who’s got a really bad rock band, drives a Lamborghini around Manhattan at about 2 miles and hour and has a Paris Hilton-kind of girlfriend.” When he’s sent to Triple-A Wilkes-Barre, he refuses to go — a violation of his contract. The only place his agent can get him a job is in the Mexican League.
“It’s all about that journey, and if you ever go to the Mexican League, it’s just fabulous,” said Shelton, whose five-year minor-league career as a second baseman in the Baltimore Orioles’ system took him through places like Stockton, Dallas-Fort Worth and Rochester — the later being the Triple-A level (minor-league stats linked here). “There are four non-Mexican players on each team, paid in cash every week, so if you have two bad games, you’re gone.
“The Americans who go there are pitchers trying to develop another pitch to come back as a closer — that’s a big one — or guys with bad knees playing first base and hitting home runs. It’s a lot of guys in their 30s — like the French Foreign Legion of sports.
“There’s gambling, kids running on the field, cheerleaders on the dugouts in Tecate shorts, mis-matched mascots in uniforms where you can’t figure out where they came from. I love the project.”
Shelton, who recently did a documentary as part of the “30 For 30″ ESPN project on Michael Jordan’s decision to quit the NBA and play minor-league baseball, has also stalled on a HBO-related project on bringing the book “Game of Shadows” into a movie. Shelton said most of the hangup is Major League Baseball agreeing to grant the release of game footage involving Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa.
John McCoy/Daily News staff photographer Paula and Jim Bouton, right, visit with Jean Hastings Ardell and David Kipen, left, before Saturday’s panel discussion in Burbank on the 40th anniversary of the release of “Ball Four.”
For those who missed Saturday’s day-long tribute by the Baseball Reliquary to Jim Bouton, “Ball Four” and the 1969 Seattle Pilots, it was probably a once-in-a-lifetime event for those of us based in Southern California — kinda like the Pilots’ existence.
We were only able to capture a small slice of it with our Sunday column (linked here), but realized afterward we had only really started to pound the Budweiser.
This 40th anniversary of “Ball Four” was not just a chance to thank Bouton in person for what he was able to accomplish, but an experience that is worth savoring for years to come.
Space and time put a limit on what we could cover on the website and in the paper. That’s the beauty of the blog.
Among the other things we’ll take away from our day in Burbank with fellow Bouton admirers:
== In Bouton’s follow-up to “Ball Four” called “I’m Glad You Didn’t Take It Personally” (1971, where he writes that he got a $40,000 advance, unlike the pro-rated $10,000 he got from the publishers at World Books for the one that really set the bar high), he mentions briefly on page 167 that the tentative title for “Ball Four” was “Baseball Journal.” The idea was actually a spin-off of the “Instant Replay” book Dick Schaap helped the Green Bay Packers’ Jerry Kramer write in 1968 (linked here).
When asked how the title “Ball Four” came into being, Bouton explained Saturday how he and editor Leonard Shecter were at the Lion’s Head Tavern in New York, the famous literary bar near Columbia University, having just turned in the finished product into the publisher:
“We went to have a drink to celebrate this piece of cardboard we had just turned in, and we’re thinking, ‘Now what are we going to call the damn thing?’
“We were talking about the need to have a downbeat title. This isn’t a story about how somebody just won the World Series. It’s about struggling, about difficulty. What’s the toughest thing for a pitcher — a knuckleball pitcher in particular — it’s to get the damn ball over the plate. It’s walking guys ….
“So we’re talking about all this, and there was a lady sitting at the bar. She was very drunk. And she was listening to our conversation. And at some point, she leans over and says, ‘Whyyyyy don’t you caaaaall it Baaaaallllll Foooouuuuurrrrrrr?’
“And we said, ‘nawwwww.’
“Finally we couldn’t come up with anything. And I was walking Shecter back to his hotel before I went home to New Jersey, and then Shecter says, ‘You know, Ball Four isn’t a bad title.’ So we owe it all to this woman at the bar.”
Ron Artest is motivated to win another NBA championship because he plans to auction his ring from last season’s Lakers title to raise money for mental health counseling in schools.
“I’m still searching for that first ring. I’m not going to have a ring, and I really do want a ring,” Artest said during a visit to San Diego to promote an exhibition game against the Golden State Warriors on Oct. 21. “This one was on the house. The next one, I guess, you could say, is on me.”
During an interview after the Lakers clinched the title with a Game 7 victory over the Boston Celtics in June, Artest thanked his psychiatrist for helping him relax during the playoffs. He said he received counseling for a few months when he was 13, but that funding for the program dried up.
“When I grew up, mental health was something that wasn’t talked about. People were scared to say they were seeing a psychologist and stuff like that. Even before the championship I was telling people I was seeing a psychiatrist. When we won the championship, it was on a much more larger scale — ‘Wow, he really said that.’ ”
AP Photos/Alan Diaz The Chicago Cubs’ Tyler Colvin, right, grimmaces as he scores after he was hit in the chest by a broken bat from teammate Welington Castillos’ double, above, in the second inning of a game Sunday in Miami. Colvin was a runner at third base who came home on the hit. MLB Media has tried to prevent all websites from posting video of the incident.
All it takes is one person — player, ump or fan — to get impailed by a broken maple bat, and possibly die. Or worse.
Darn, we almost had one Sunday.
It was decided today that the Chicago Cubs’ Tyler Colvin, who was hitting .254 with 20 homers and 56 RBIs, would sit out the rest of the season after a shattered maple bat punctured his chest as he scored a run in a game against Florida.
He remains in stable condition at a Miami hospital today and is likely to stay there for a few more days, MLB.com reports.
A Cubs trainer said Colvin was hit in his upper chest, allowing air into his chest well and potentially into his lungs. He was being treated with a chest tube to prevent a collapsed lung, according to The Associated Press.
What’s it going to take for baseball to kill maple bats before it kills someone else?
== More on the Colvin story:
== The New York Times (linked here) reports that the number of broken bats declined about 15 percent this season after falling 35 percent last season, according to Major League Baseball. In 2008, about one bat per game was broken compared to about 0.55 bats broken per game this year. (By comparison, 0.57 bases have been stolen per game in the N.L. this year.)
== Bob Nightengale at USA Today (linked here) reported that Oakland Athletics reliever Brad Ziegler, who was hit in the back with a broken bat this month, wrote on Twitter: “Hope it won’t take the death of a player/fan to get maple bats banned.”
== Time magazine (linked here) refers to Arizona Diamondbacks analyst Mark Grace endorsing a transparent safety film placed over bats.
== The Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rogers (linked here) quotes Ron Manfred, MLB’s executive vice president of labor relations: “People say ban maple bats. We couldn’t play if we banned maple bats. There’s not enough ash available. If you banned maple, you’d find there’s not enough high-quality ash available. We’re dealing with an ash blight in the United States.”
He sounds more worried about a blight of ash bats, knowing there’ll always be another player to replace someone like Colvin if he’s ever killed.
Steve Mitchell/US Presswire Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija checks on the condition of Tyler Colvin as Colvin walks back to the dugout on Sunday.
Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:
NFL: New Orleans at San Francisco, 5:30 p.m., ESPN:
The Super Bowl champion Saints have had 11 days off between their opener and this second game. Does that count as a bye week? Still, there was plenty of football news to come out of the Bayou over the last nearly two weeks — Reggie Bush giving back his Heisman (to the delight of LSU fans), the New Orleans VooDoo returning to the Arena Football League (the Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings are relocating and snatching the name from the defunct franchise) and the city council of Mathews, Louisiana, which is about 20 miles southwest of New Orleans, decided not to impose an ordinance that would change Halloween trick-or-treating as a day-time event because having at night would conflict with the Saints’ game on Oct. 31. Ever since the Saints won the Super Bowl, isn’t it Christmas every day in New Orleans anyway? You know, aside from natural and man-made disasters.
MLB: Tampa Bay at N.Y. Yankees, 4 p.m., MLB Network:
The Rays took two out of three against the Yankees last week — even after Derek Jeter pretended to get hit by a pitch — and the top two left in the AL East have their last four head-to-head meetings starting today at Yankee Stadium, with the Yankees holding a half-game lead. As if it matters: It’s just for playoff seedings, since both will make it.
MLB: Angels vs. Texas, Angel Stadium, 7 p.m., FSW:
The Rangers will be scoreboard watching, waiting to find out if they face the Yankees or Rays in the first round of the playoffs. The Angels will be watching the scoreboard to see if they’re actually beating the Rangers. The rest of us will be watching “Hawaii 5-0.”
“Dancing With The Stars,” 8 p.m., Channel 7:
Former Laker forward Rick Fox and former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner are apt to embarass themselves in the season premiere. Or, set the stage to winning the whole stupid thing.
MLB: Dodgers vs. San Diego, Dodger Stadium, 7 p.m., Channel 9:
First 50,000 who crash the gate get an Andre Either fleece blanket. Insert your own jokes about getting fleeced this year. Or whether 50,000 will actually show up. Or if Either will be traded to the Boston Red Sox by this point. He and Dustin Pedroia need to give each other a big hug after this season.
MLB: Angels vs. Texas, Angel Stadium, 7 p.m., FSW:
Angels pitcher Ervin Santana, who used to be only effective on roadies, now has an ERA that’s more than a full point higher at home than away from Anaheim. The Rangers may know how to exploit that.
MLB: N.Y. Yankees at Tampa Bay, 4 p.m., MLB Network:
MLB: N.Y. Yankees at Tampa Bay, 4 p.m., ESPN:
See Monday. And Tuesday.
MLB: Dodgers vs. San Diego, Dodger Stadium, 7 p.m., Prime:
Ted Lilly, tonight’s scheduled starter, has actually lost three of his last four starts (with one no decision) after winning his first five appearances since he was traded to the Dodgers at the July 31 deadline. He beat the Padres, 2-1, in his first Dodger start on Aug. 3.
MLB: Angels vs. Texas, Angel Stadium, 7 p.m., FSW:
Checking back in with C.J. Wilson, the Rangers’ starter out of Loyola Marymount: He’s lost two of his last three starts after rattling off seven wins in a row since mid-July. He’s still ninth in the league in ERA (3.21).
NHL exhibition: Kings at Colorado, 6 p.m.:
Oct. 9 is the first real one. This is the first practice one.
Golf: PGA Tour Championship in Atlanta, first round, 10 a.m., Golf Channel:
Of the 30 players headed to East Lake, only the top five in points are guaranteed the FedEx Cup should one of them win this event: Dustin Johnson, Paul Casey, Matt Kuchar, Charley Hoffman and Steve Stricker have the best shot at the $10 mil bonus. “To have a shot to win it, you can’t ask for anything else,” said Johnson (right). “You know, that’s the goal coming into the playoffs. I knew I was in a good situation. You definitely want to be in that top five because if you win and you’re in the top five, then you get the $10 million. That would look nice in the bank account.” Or, in FedEx credit, depending on how much stuff you ship. Golf Channel has the first two rounds; rounds three and four are first on Golf Channel then on NBC Saturday and Sunday.
MLB: Dodgers vs. San Diego, Dodger Stadium, 7 p.m., Prime:
The final time this year the Dodgers can actually help the Giants by beating the Padres.
NHL exhibition: Kings vs. Phoenix, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.:
The “Walk With The Dinosaurs” tour should have left Staples Center by now. The Kings also are sending a team to Phoenix to play the Coyotes on this night.
MLB: Dodgers at Arizona, 6:40 p.m., Channel 9:
Not to alarm anyone but The Onion fake newspaper reported recently (linked here) that the Diamondbacks organization apologized to fans, their families, and the community at large after more than 16,000 people attending the previous night’s game were killed by the poisonous Western diamondback rattlesnakes given out as part of Complimentary Rattlesnake Night.
“I feel terrible,” Diamondbacks general manager Jerry Dipoto told reporters as emergency personnel working out of temporary triage stations around Chase Field injected antivenom into the estimated 23,000 victims who survived the initial wave of snakebites. “All we wanted to do was give people something that was symbolic of the Diamondbacks, something they could take home and keep to remember the team by.”
(Now, look closely at the photo. To the left, the guy with the Dodger cap smiling. And off to the right, the “Dodgers Suck” sign. Maybe they had it coming).
MLB: Angels vs. Chicago White Sox, Angel Stadium, 7 p.m., FSW:
Rent-a-slugger Manny Ramirez’s influence on the White Sox charge to the AL Central title has been about as effective as . . . Manny Ramirez’s influence on the Dodgers for the first part of the 2010 season. It’s just Manny Being Uncanny.
MLS: Galaxy vs. New York Red Bull, Home Depot Center, 8 p.m, ESPN2:
Oh, Henry. Oh, Becks. A matchup so attractive, ESPN has swiped it and moved it back so it’ll come after those watching TCU and SMU play college football are finished. How nice.
College football: USC at Washington State, noon, Prime:
If Pullman, Wash., really was like the TV show “Cougar Town,” the Cougars might draw more recruits. Meanwhile, as the Trojans, in their Pac-10 opener, keep moving down in the AP Top 25 standings, you think they can afford another victory to improve to 4-0?
College football: UCLA at Texas, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7:
Not that anyone for the sixth-ranked Longhorns will be looking ahead to next Saturday’s game against Oklahoma . . . but the Bruins can hope that’s the case. Opponents are averaging just 12.7 points a game against Texas, coming off a 24-14 win over Texas Tech, despite three interceptions from QB Garrett Gilbert.
College football: Boise State vs. Oregon State, 5 p.m., Channel 7:
Coach Chris Peterson and the third-ranked Broncos can use a win over the No. 24 Beavers to launch them into the rest of the season that most likely will be against no more ranked teams.
College football: Stanford at Notre Dame, 11:30 a.m., Channel 4:
If the game goes to OT, the Irish will be ready for the Cardinal’s educated fake.
MLB: Dodgers at Arizona, 5 p.m., Prime:
If the D’backs don’t want Kirk Gibson as manager any more, could he be Don Mattingly’s new hitting coach?
MLB: Angels vs. Chicago White Sox, Angel Stadium, 6 p.m., Channel 13:
Angels starter Scott Kazmir is only second in the league with 14 losses, one back of Baltimore’s Kevin Millwood (3-15).
The main event: Frank Mir vs. Mirko Cro Cop. Yup, it looks like a marquee at a theatre where some of the letters got knocked off.
NFL: N.Y. Jets at Miami, 5:20 p.m., Channel 4:
Mark Sanchez lost twice to the Dolphins last season, and Miami DB Jason Allen picked Brett Favre off twice in Week 2. The buzz from last week’s win over the Patroits should be short lived.
NFL: San Diego at Seattle, 1 p.m., Channel 2:
The Chargers’ defense finally looks as if it has awakened. The Seahawks’ defense looks pretty wounded. Meanwhile, the network also has Indianapolis-Denver and Oakland-Arizona if that sounds more appealing.
MLB: Dodgers at Arizona, 1 p.m., Prime:
Two more weeks after this …
MLB: Angels vs. Chicago White Sox, Angel Stadium, 12:30 p.m., FSW:
Two more weeks after this …
MLB: N.Y. Yankees at Boston, 5 p.m., ESPN:
Like old times. Including the Red Sox with no chance of making the postseason.
NASCAR: AAA 400 from Dover, Del., 10 a.m., ESPN:
Dang, Clint Boyer wins one time this year, and he’s second in the Chase standings. If they rankings was by money earned, his $3.4 mil would be No. 20. But then, leading money winner Jamie McMurray ($5.4 mil) missed the cut of the final 12.
Series: “Eastbound & Down,” second season debut, 10:30 p.m., HBO:
Kenny Powers drove away in the final episode of the first season, and we weren’t sure where the washed-up, ex-big league relief pitcher was headed. He didn’t have the tryout he thought was a lock. He left his girl friend at the gas station. And we know he has little common sense. As season two begins, we find him … in Mexico, where, according to the HBO press release, “he’s making a fresh start … where he can both nurse his wounds and bless the locals with his awesomeness.” He’s befriended by a Mexican family and a sultry bar singer named Vida. But his comeback dreams haven’t disappeared. Seven more episodes, each Sunday. Thanks to Danny McBride, and his new K-Swiss Tubes.
Honestly, sincerely, regrettably, I feel really, really bad for Inez … her last name escapes me now ….
Was she the one in the wedding dress that one year proposing to Tom Brady? Si? No? (Actually, no, that was another Inez from the Mexico TV net).
She was all over the TV and radio and Internet thing this week for something … showing up at Jets’ camp to do something …
Seduce the team? Distract the team? Call attention to herself? Make us remember her name?
Sorry, this is all like oatmeal heading for the garbage disposal.
Some can use it whatever this angle is as a launching point about women in the locker room. Was she actually in the locker room? Didn’t sound like it.
Others can use it to further their cause about what’s approrpriate attire when working as a journalist. I’m still trying to figure that out — does wearing a tight-fitted adidas polo shirt while covering a Nike team deserve a flogging?
We thought the best thing written about this was from our own Jill Painter (linked here). She’s been dumped on before while doing her job. She speaks from some experience. We can’t.
Other reporters have also written about this from a female perspective. Sports Illustrated’s Ann Killion (linked here). Shannon Owens of the Orlando Sentinel (linked here). USA Today’s Christine Brennan wants some punishment handed down (linked here). The Washington Post’s Sally Jenkins has an opinion (linked here).
Even Eric Deggans, writing for the National Sports Journalism Center at the University of Indiana site (linked here) makes great points. And another point: Is there a cultural difference here everyone’s overlooking (linked here)?
Now, who’s the boob that keeps preventing us to escape this mess and move forward? And when can we see ESPN Magazine’s nude “Body” issue that comes out Oct. 8 (linked here)?
And we’re walking into more trouble with more notes after today’s media column (linked here):
== One more quote from Don Yaeger, on how “Tarnished Heisman” was somewhat snubbed by USC (and Reggie Bush) when it came out in early 2008:
“The fact that they said the NCAA was investigating the situation allowed a lot of people (at USC) not to talk. But I did hundreds of radio shows across the country when the book came out, and the conversations I had shows that people were stunned by the level of details we had. I think the book was ignored by USC and Reggie Bush camp when it came out, but it got good play in L.A., and even better in San Diego (Bush’s hometown). In the rest of the country, they question was: What does this mean about college sports. It’s that the $100 handshake still exists, but the level of graft (Bush) and and his parents got would be hardpressed to find on a daily basis. Reggie was a unique athlete in a unique market at a unique time.”
== ESPN sends the irrelevantly irrepressible Dave Lamond and JC Pearson out to the land of 10,000 ex-Lakers to cover the USC-Minnesota college football game (Saturday, 12:30 p.m., ESPN). It goes up against Arizona State-Wisconson, Washington-Nebraska and BYU-Florida State on the ABC/ESPN family of networks in that slot. Meanwhile, Barry Tompkins, Petros Papadakis and Rebecca Haarlow have the UCLA-Houston game from the Rose Bowl (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., FSW). It’s up against ESPN2′s coverage of Texas-Texas Tech. The Bruins face the Longhorns next Saturday.
Our game of interest: No. 9 Iowa at No. 24 Arizona, with Mark Jones and Bob Davie, ESPN, 7:30 p.m.
== More on the “announcer lite” coverage that Golf Channel will give Saturday’s third-round coverage of the Nationwide Tour event (linked here).
== Jim Lampley, Larry Merchant and Harold Lederman are on the HBO pay-per-view call ($44.95) of the Sugar Shane Mosley-Sergio Mora fight from Staples Center (Saturday, 6 p.m.)
== Showtime announced a bantamweight division tournament that it will begin covering on Dec. 11 from Leon, Mexico. The group will be IBF champ Yonnhy Perez, former IBF bantamweight champ Joseph Agbeko, Aber Mares and Vic Darchinyan.
== Culver City-based Tennis Channel has the U.S.-Columbia Davis Cup match this weekend — and the last one coached by Patrick McEnroe – as Sam Querrery starts singles matches today at 8 a.m., doubles Saturday at 9 a.m. (the Bryan brothers are not with the team this time) and singles at 8 a.m. on Sunday. Ted Robinson and Leif Shiras will share play by play duties with analyst Justin Gimelstob.
== A feature slated for ESPN’s NFL pregame show Sunday (8-to-10 a.m.): Kenny Mayne has a piece called “Soft Knocks” that is described: “While Jets head coach Rex Ryan drew a lot of attention this summer for his profanity-laced language in the HBO series Hard Knocks, the Titans and their head coach Jeff Fisher were filming a similar show that is only just making its way to cable TV on ‘Mayne Event.’This week, Kenny Mayne features a special edition of the Titans’ Soft Knocks.”
== Next edition of HBO’s “Real Sports” (Tuesday, 10 p.m., with many replays): A piece by Frank Deford on the how the remains of Jim Thorpe are being fought over, Bernie Goldberg goes to a mascot boot camp, a piece by Jon Frankel on Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia, and another story from Frankel revisiting a story he did on the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton.
== Fox sends L.A. San Diego-St. Louis for its MLB game of the week (Saturday, 1 p.m., with Chris Rose and Eric Karros, instead of Atlanta-N.Y. Mets and Detroit-Chicago White Sox). Sunday, TBS has N.Y. Yankees-Baltimore (10:30 a.m.) while ESPN takes Detroit-Chicago (5 p.m.)
== Your five-team United Football League TV crew for the upcoming season (again, one without an L.A. team, but one in Vegas, Sacramento, Florida, Omaha and Hartford): On Versus, Craig Minervini replaces Dave Sims as the lead play-by-play man, with Doug Flutie as the analyst, plus former UCLA star Ryan Nece and Sports Illustrated writer Damon Hack as the sideline guys. On HDNet: Kenny Rice, Paul Maguire, Ron Kruck and Paul Crane. There’s one more crew on NESN broadcast, but seriously … The season starts Saturday.
== AND FINALLY:
== Because you can’t get enough quality fantasy football information, Sirius XM Radio has allowed actor Jerry Ferrara (Turtle from “Entourage”) to host a weekly show that started Thursday (4 to 5 p.m.) on Sirius 211/XM 147. The press release says Ferrara, who grew up in Brooklyn as a diehard New York Giants fan, will host the show each week from Los Angeles taking calls from other fantasy football players around the country as well as do one-on-one chats with other celebrity fantasy football fans.
Actually, the only fantasy football information Ferrara could supply here is whether the “Entourage” storyline about the NFL returning to L.A. gets derailed or not.
Jacksonville Jags star and former UCLA running back Maurice Jones-Drew, this afternoon on the Mason and Ireland show on KSPN-AM (710), discussing the Bruins’ situation — especially when compared to how things are going with USC’s football program:
“I believe in what coach Neuheusel is doing, and his staff, and I’m excited. We’ve got to get everything clicking at the same time. That’s what the best teams do. Well, put it this way: At least we haven’t done anything to ban ourselves from getting any type of exposure in bowl games or scholarships taken away. At least we’re doing the right things. Everybody can cheat and win BCS bowls and go 14-0 and the coach skips town — anybody can do that. It’s doing it the right way that counts.”
Apparently, there’s no 24-hour extension requested by the San Diego Chargers — they have accepted that their Sunday home opener against Jacksonville won’t be a sellout, and the blackout rule is in effect.
That is, in San Diego, where apparently enough people have co-ed over-the-line tournaments to complete before summer officially ends in October and they have no time for the Chargers until December when they decide to finally play.
In L.A., we still get a 1 p.m. contest for CBS, and KCBS-Channel 2 has graciously accepted New England at the New York Jets (following Miami-Minnesota).